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July 27, 2011

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More benefit claimants being found fit for work

The TUC has criticised the Government’s recently launched Work Programme, saying it is a money-making exercise that hinders rather than helps disabled people.

Commenting on figures released by the DWP yesterday (26 July), which revealed that just 7 per cent of those assessed for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) under the new Work Capability Assessment will be entitled to receive it, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the “much tougher test is designed to save the Government money by excluding more people”.

“It is therefore unsurprising,” he added, “that more disabled people have been declared fit for work. These figures certainly don’t suggest that thousands of disabled people are suddenly ‘trying it on’.”

The DWP figures relate to the period between 27 October 2008 and 30 November 2010, during which some 679,000 new ESA claims were made. Of those, 39 per cent of claimants were deemed ‘fit for work’, meaning they are no longer entitled to claim. Under the appeals procedure, 37 per cent appealed this decision, which was upheld in 61 per cent of cases. 

Seventeen per cent of claimants were assigned to the Work-Related Activity Group, i.e. those who receive a higher rate of benefit than people on Jobseekers’ Allowance but who must engage with the Pathways To Work scheme.

The Support Group comprises those with the most severe disabilities – for example, chemotherapy patients, people with certain mental-health conditions, and those with functional disabilities. The 7 per cent of claimants assigned to this group receive a higher rate of benefit entitlement overall and are not required to be involved in any work schemes.

The TUC is concerned that too few people are getting the help that they need. Said Barber: “We have heard from disabled people all around the UK, who feel the tests have been unfair and ineffective. The Government needs to do much more to help disabled people back into jobs rather than cracking down on the benefits they get when they are unable to work.”

But DWP minister Steve Webb said the scheme was not about victimising people but helping them return to the workplace. He said: “These figures show that many people are able to work with the right help. We have strengthened the support now available, tailoring it to individual needs so they can overcome whatever barriers they face.

“Those who cannot work will always receive our unconditional support but for those who can work it is right that they get the help they need to get into employment.”

The Work Programme
– described as “the biggest single payment-by-results employment programme ever introduced” – was launched in June by Employment minister, Chris Grayling. The aim of the programme is to “tackle the consequences of endemic worklessness” via a network of welfare-to-work providers around the country, who will help those on Jobseekers’ Allowance and long-term sickness benefits back into sustained employment.

Providers such as Mencap, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Reed in Partnership will be paid for their support partly through the benefit savings made from the people they help back into work.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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12 years ago

I know one of the ‘shirkers’, he has dialysis every other day for six hours at a stretch, can hardly walk and when he does it is with the aid of crutches. The dialysis saps all his energy therefore can hardly lift his dead off his pillow on some days. He will be dead in two years as his consultant has predicted. Maybe we should work him to death or starve him to death if he won’t work. Of course Grayling will never be in that position as he is reasonably healthy plus a load of money in the bank.

12 years ago

As usual the reality is lost somewhere in between the polarised views of the TUC and the government. Let us hope that we all have enough insurance to pay out for essential care so as not to be work shy lazy scroungers if one of us goes down with MS, stroke, heart attack or cancer – one of the “big four” as insurers call them, eh?

12 years ago

Completely agree Steve far too many scroungers out there that are playing the system. Lets get them back to work and stop bleeding the state dry.

12 years ago

see the problem is the TUC (amateur politicos) still live in victorian times, they really dont understand that this country is plagued by the work shy. I beg to ask the question how is it a money making exercise? it is an exercise to save this country money in handouts to the lazy club. The financial mess Mr. Cameron inherited after mis management by the last socialist government, it is a step in the right direction and long may this pro work anti scrounger policy continue.